Your mental health data could be for sale - The Hustle
The Hustle

Your mental health data could be for sale

A Duke University study found that data brokers have personal mental health data obtained from apps.

If you’ve ever used an app to access mental health care, your personal data could be up for grabs.

A new study from Duke University outlines a shadowy industry built on buying and selling patients’ personal medical data.

Researchers contacted 37 data brokers — companies that collect and sell personal information — and asked for bulk datasets on mental health. Eleven of the brokers agreed.

The data included:

The brokers’ prices ranged from $275 for 5k aggregated mental health records, to $100k/yr. for a data licensing subscription.

Is this legal?

Yup. HIPAA, the law that restricts how doctors and hospitals share Americans’ health data, doesn’t protect health information held elsewhere.

That means apps have free range for distributing user data. And they do:

Congress has yet to pass regulatory legislation and data brokers spend millions on lobbying efforts.

But health data in the wrong hands can have serious consequences:

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